By John McClaughry
On Feb. 20 President Joe Biden did something above and beyond his month long campaign to reward and placate the various groups that brought about his election.
On that date he signed an executive order ordering his State, Homeland Security and Defense departments to speed up reviews for the Special Immigrant Visa program. That’s the program that issues visas to Afghans and Iraqis who risked their lives to interpret for American forces engaged in those countries.
The White House release said the order would review practices to ensure the U.S. was honoring its commitment to helpful allies in war-torn countries, to expand the program and enhance access to the program for those vulnerable to persecution, including women, children and those who could be discriminated against for gender or sexual orientation.
About 17,000 Afghan translators are currently seeking special visas and as many as 100,000 from Iraq, counting their family members. It currently takes over three years on average to crawl through the paperwork, during which time the terps, as they’re called, are target number one for ISIS and the Taliban. If the Taliban intercepts a terp with emigration documents, they follow him home and murder him and members of his family.
One of my favorite charities is called No One Left Behind. It’s composed of service members who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, who are working to get the terps out of harm’s way. You can learn more about them at NoOneLeft.org.
John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.